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Japan trip to promote visits to the birthplace of Rugby football 

A SENIOR delegation from the birthplace of the sport of rugby will attend the pool draw for Rugby World Cup 2019 in an exclusive link-up with the tournament organisers.

Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, and Adam Norburn, Executive Director, will attend the pool draw in Kyoto in Japan on Wednesday 10 May as guests of World Rugby, in a move aimed at promoting Rugby as a destination to Japanese visitors.

While in Japan Cllr Stokes and Mr Norburn will meet the Mayor of Kyoto and the Chairman of the organising committee for Rugby World Cup 2019, as well as representatives of host cities and potential sponsors for the World Rugby Hall of Fame. They will also be interviewed by Japanese media, giving them a unique opportunity to talk about the origins of the game in front of a global audience.

The trip follows a successful visit to Rugby by a delegation from Japan during Rugby World Cup 2015, when the borough council hosted a visit from the city of Kumamoto. That study trip was aimed at showing Japan 2019 host cities how to operate a successful Fanzone while also sharing Rugby’s unique heritage, and resulted in thousands of pounds being spent in the local economy.

Cllr Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “It is no accident that World Rugby chose to hold the next Rugby World Cup in Japan – the sport is growing at a rapid rate in Japan and there is a great deal of interest in both the origins of the game and its values, both of which are showcased in the World Rugby Hall of Fame here where the sport began.

“This trip is an ideal opportunity to explore how the Hall of Fame can promote Tournament host cities, and also how we could promote Rugby as a visitor destination at host cities and in Fanzones in Japan during the tournament in 2019.”

The World Rugby Hall of Fame opened in Rugby, England in November 2016, and is a unique collaboration between World Rugby and Rugby Borough Council. The interactive visitor experience highlights the history and origins of the game, as well as celebrating the greatest moments and individuals in the sport since it began in 1823.

The total cost of the trip is estimated to be less than five thousand pounds. Cllr Stokes and Mr Norburn will be guests of World Rugby and will attend meetings brokered by the Japan Local Government Centre.

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